Durgapuja in Switzerland

About Swisspuja

Living a Spiritually Awakened Life

Established in 2003, SWISSPUJA is a non-profit socio-cultural organisation that is committed to the promotion of the Indian culture and its values and intends to work towards facilitating integration with the local community. With this vision in mind, SWISSPUJA organises a number of socio-cultural events throughout the year. Swisspuja had humble beginnings. A band of Bengalis came together in Zurich, in 2003. Everyone had the same thought in mind: enough of feeling nostalgic about Durga Puja, let’s start a Durga Puja in Switzerland! As crazy as the idea first seemed (imagine, if you will, for one second, Ma Durga and her four children crossing the Alps) never underestimate people power! Although the challenges have been many and the going certainly has not been easy, our belief and our spirit has never waned. From a 100 strong crowd of attendees in 2003 to over 4000 visitors in 2016 visitors from Switzerland and its neighbouring countries. SWISSPUJA, as you can see, has grown significantly over the years and will keep growing in the coming years. Among other events SWISSPUJA celebrates Rabindra Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the great poet, philosopher and educationist Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) with his songs, dances, dramas and poetry.
 

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Our Mission

To facilitate the socio-cultural bonding among the members, SWISSPUJA also organises an annual picnic every summer. Filled with fun, frolic and games aplenty for all the family, the Swisspuja Picnic is THE place to come along for a stress-busting, endorphin-buzzing adda like no other which will see you perfectly into a gorgeous Swiss summer. Come autumn, it is of course time for Durga Puja! Five, fun-filled days of festivity, gaiety and laughter. Brimming with community spirit, our Puja has the flavour of a family puja and the feel of a parar puja. Every year since its foundation, SWISSPUJA publishes an annual magazine, the Puja Patrika, released during Durga Puja days. This multi-lingual brochure provides a platform for expression to the creative talent of the community and is distributed to all the visitors who take part in the celebrations. Finally, we round off the year with our Bijoya Sanmelani, which always promises to be a soulful evening of music, dance and theatre. SWISSPUJA also provides philanthropic support to various Swiss and Indian NGOs and foundations involved in relief and humanitarian work, such as SOS Children’s Village and Fair Med.   

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Our History

Welcome to Sarbojanin Durga Puja in Switzerland!

In 2003, a small group of people comprising old as well as new Bengali expats decided to go for it and start a Durga Puja here in Switzerland. Swisspuja was born! The first Swisspuja Executive Committee was set up. It was almost an entrepreneurship, with various challenges – from finding a venue for the Puja to importing the idols from India. The committee got in touch with families and individuals, who could potentially sponsor the puja. It planned meticulously to make the Puja a grand success. Step by step the event started to take shape and several volunteers came forward to help. An Indian Restaurant generously offered its hall for the venue. Another member made arrangements to bring a Protima from Kumartuli to Zurich along with a Purohit from Kolkata. There was real excitement in the air. Some women and men got together and practiced songs and dances for the Puja and rehearsed long hours the Agomoni songs and path (religious recitations) for Mahishashur Mardini. As Durga Puja approached people ordered flowers to make garlands and to use them for offerings at the Puja, planned and bought raw materials to prepare sweets and organized all the necessary ingredients for the rituals. The first day of Durga Puja arrived. The excitement had no bounds. Sponsors turned members thronged the Puja Bari (House). Swisspuja Executive Committee informed all supporters and their friends and colleagues. The news also spread through word of mouth. Bengalis, Indians and Indophiles with their friends from all over Switzerland visited to take part in the first Sarbojonin Durga Puja in Switzerland.
Swisspuja has grown in all paradigms—from a humble 100 visitors in 2003 to over 4000 visitors in current years. People from Swiss neighbouring countries like France, Germany and Austria attend all days of the Puja. The event changed its venue from Taj Palace to Schutzenhaus in Thalwil to Langnau am Albis near Zurich to accommodate the ever growing number of visitors over the years.